"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Promise of Morning (At Home in Beldon Grove series) by Ann Shorey

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Summary: A pastor's wife grieves the death of her children while her husband struggles with a challenge to his ministry. 

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher.

Love is not enough to keep a marriage going. Faith in God is not enough to keep a marriage going. But faith in God, and love, and a commitment to living your best life all help, no matter what era you live in. This tender, poignant story shares a marriage in crisis, as two people try to get their needs met while staying happily married. I love stories with happy endings, too.

I can't imagine the pain of losing a child, and so while I ached for Ellie, I winced reading this. Reliable birth control in 1846 was rare, so when Ellie refuses to have sex with her husband to avoid giving birth to another child who might die in infancy, I fumed.

Ellie and Matthew are growing apart, with the stress of following a budget, farming, raising their children and dealing with family secrets. And then they're not even having sex? And the rain threatens to destroy the crops?

The problems just keep appearing. When each character focuses on what God wants for them, or the lessons the Bible teaches, things get better. But it was not preachy-preachy, as so many Christian fiction books can be.

Matthew is forced out of his church and feels so insecure he doesn't want to fight back. It doesn't help that Matthew rails against a public performance of Macbeth, without knowing the story.

Reading this story was a treat, reminding me that people have ordinary stresses, no matter the time period they live in, but it was also absorbing watching the characters dealing with problems exclusive to that time - like flies in the butter, kids running off to fight in wars, itinerant preachers, corsets, and wagons with flat tires - ooops, broken axles.

I enjoy reading romance novels where the characters have a real relationship with God, and this book was no exception. 

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